1951 Vincent Rapide
Year of manufacture1951
Engine numberF10AB/1B/6452 (see text)
1951 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C
Registration no. 849 FUF
Frame no. R2656
Engine no. F10AB/1B/6452 (see text)
Rear frame no. RC3016
Restored in 2007
Fitted with an electric starter
Ever since the Series-A's arrival in 1937, the Vincent v-twin has been synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and superlative high performance. From Rollie Free's capture of the 'world's fastest production motorcycle' record in 1948 on a tuned Series-B Black Shadow to the final fully enclosed Black Knight and Black Prince, Philip Vincent's stress on appearance and performance is legendary. His machines bristled with innovative features, offering adjustment of brake pedal, footrests, seat height and gear-change lever. The finish was to a very high standard commensurate with the cost of the machine, which was virtually double that of any of its contemporaries.
But above all else it was the v-twin's stupendous performance that captivated motorcyclists, whether they could afford one or not. The appeal of the Vincent, and the Black Shadow in particular, lay in its ability to out-perform just about every other vehicle on the road, and in the early post-war years there was nothing to compare with it. This was a time when the average family sedan was barely capable of reaching 70mph, and not until the advent of Jaguar's XK120 was there a production sports car that could live with the thundering v-twins from Stevenage. With a top speed approaching 120mph, and bettering it in the Black Shadow's case, the Vincent v-twin was quite simply the fastest road vehicle of its day.
Vincent Owners Club records show that frame number 'R2656' is from a Series-B Rapide that went to Kings of Oxford in March 1948, while the rear frame ('RC3016') formed part of a Rapide that was sent to Argentina in August of that year. The engine is not an original Black Shadow unit but a Rapide motor that has been finished in black and wrongly re-stamped (the original engine 'F10AB/1B/6452' is in a Black Shadow in Australia).
This motorcycle was exported in September 1988 to South Africa where it was restored by the current vendor's father in 2007. It was inherited by his son and brought back to the UK in April 2012. The export/import paperwork is on file and the machine also comes with old/current V5/V5C registration documents.